Health risk from Trafford biomass plant is ‘negligible’

Peel Energy claims a public health watchdog said risks from its Barton Renewable Energy Plant on land on the south side of the Manchester Ship Canal are negligible.

Peel said the Health Protection Agency has stated, within its formal response to a consultation request by Trafford Council's planning authority, that it considers Peel's plans to develop a 20MW renewable energy plant do "not present any obvious cause for concern in regards to a significant health risk to local receptors from emissions, providing it is well managed and maintained."

Peel said the HPA response added: "Providing the incinerator complies with relevant regulations, the human health risk assessment suggests that the risks to human health from emissions from this proposed development are negligible."

The HPA is an independent government body that exists to protect the public from threats to their health from infectious diseases and environmental hazards. It does this by providing advice and information to the general public, to health professionals such as doctors and nurses, and to national and local government.

Peel said the response to Trafford Council's planning team also highlights a position paper published by the HPA which states that the organisation has reviewed the evidence on incinerators and health and that "a well-managed and well-regulated energy from waste facility presents little risk to residents."

Peel said the HPA's position statement concludes: "Modern, well-managed incinerators make only a small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants. It is possible that such small additions could have an impact on health but such effects, if they exist, are likely to be very small and not detectable."

Jon England, Peel Energy's project manager, added: "The HPA is the latest in a line of organisations consulted by Trafford Planning Authority that have responded by saying that they are satisfied with the proposals put forward in the biomass plant planning application."

"We are obviously pleased that the HPA agrees that the proposal presents a negligible public health risk to the local community."

In a separate development, England said the biomass plant proposal has also gained the backing of the North West Development Agency.

England said the NWDA chief executive, Mark Hughes, sent Peel Energy a letter stating: "we see considerable merit in the proposal and would wish to express our support for it."

Peel said its proposal, which is located immediately west of Barton High Level Bridge in Trafford, could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 37,000 homes each year.

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What happens when they open the incinerator doors? I understand that dioxins escape when this is done, not through any fault with filters. This sort of operation should be built well away from housing areas. Urmston has enough pollution do deal with already. Asthma levels are high enough already, especially on the Wimpey Estate near the retail park.

By Alastair Sheehan

As a resident of Trafford I welcome these proposals. It shows that we are at the vanguard of sustainable development and sustainable energy solutions that contribute to the UK’s green energy targets. It is certainly far better than the existing coal power stations that cause pollution and must close by 2015. Residents will soon kick up a fuss when all “the lights go out”… This as per usual is a typical case of NIMBYism…